New At YDN
I call bullshit on the Intoonfada and the profiles in cowardice struck in response to it:
Between the publication of the cartoons and the attacks on Danish consular buildings, Muslim states began pressuring the Danish government to punish the newspaper. It was only after Prime Minister Anders Rasmussen definitively refused to submit to blackmail and extortion that a non-story of humorlessness among the pious became an international incident, kindling a sometimes figurative, sometimes literal conflagration from Copenhagen to Cairo. In other words, there never was a mass spontaneous outcry against the denigration of Muslim religious beliefs; there was only premeditated and ultimately successful incitement to violence on the part of theocratic bullies.
Denmark has a proud tradition of defying brownshirt tactics -- this was the nation that made a conscious, collective effort to save its Jews from extermination and whose king wore a yellow star in solidarity -- so it is unsurprising to see the Danes remaining resolute. Outside of Denmark, however, Western reaction to the assault on free speech has run the full gamut from obsequious to craven. Last week a court in Johannesburg ruled in favor of the South African Muslim Judicial Council's effort to prevent South African newspapers from reprinting the Jyllands-Posten cartoons. Editors of newspapers in Poland and Ukraine that did reprint the cartoons have issued nauseating apologies, while Sweden is going so far as to shut down Web sites that carried the images.
In what would amount to a pre-emptive surrender of fundamental freedom, the European Union is considering imposing regulations on media content in an effort, according to E.U. Justice and Security Commissioner Franco Fattini, to "give the Muslim world the message: We are aware of the consequences of free expression." The most disgraceful reaction of all came -- try to act surprised -- from the Vatican, which claimed that "the right to freedom of expression does not imply the right to offend religious beliefs." Thus does Cardinal Ratzinger's church put us on notice, yet again, that it is positively opposed to individual and civil rights.